Connecting Your Computer to the Internet

This page addresses how to connect to the internet two different ways, and some issues users may encounter with their internet connections.  The two ways of getting access to the internet are known as Ethernet (or wired connection) and Wireless connections.  Users will be unable to access any aspect of the internet without being connected.

Ethernet Connection (Wired Connection)

This is a usually secure connection with your computer physically connected to an internet source.  This is done with an ethernet cable, which is usually blue, connected from an ethernet port on the computer to an internet connection such as router or working ethernet jack.  The ethernet port looks very much like a phone jack, except a little bigger and the cable is usually heavier duty.

Mac

    1. Make sure that one end of your ethernet cable (commonly blue) is plugged into your ethernet port, and the other end is connected into the ethernet wall jack (looks like a phone jack, but is a little larger).
    2. You can check your connection by clicking on the Apple Logo in the upper right hand corner.
    3. Go to System Preferences in the drop down menu.
    4. Select Network under Internet & Wireless.
    5. Look for the green light and Status: Connected under the option Ethernet.
    6. If you are not connected to the internet via ethernet, a red light and Status: Disconnected will display.  Try different combinations of ethernet cables and ethernet jacks until the icon above is displayed.

PC

  1. Make sure that one end of your ethernet cable (commonly blue) is plugged into your ethernet port, and the other end is connected into the ethernet wall jack (looks like a phone jack, but is a little larger).
  2. An icon that looks like a computer monitor should appear and will confirm that you are connected to the internet via ethernet.

Wireless Connection

A wireless connection is made through a computer's network card communicating with a device such as a wireless router.  This connection is not physical, and can be less secure than the hard line style ethernet connection.  A computer does not need to be very close to the wireless router, but must be within range of the signal.

Mac

AirPort is Apple's wireless connection program. It is located in the tray at the top right of your screen.

  • The icon that looks like a radio wave being emitted, with black lines shows that your Mac is connected to a wireless connection.  More lines filled in means you have a stronger signal, and less means a weaker signal.
  • That same icon, but with translucent lines means that AirPort is running, but is for one reason or another not connected to a wireless connection.
  • The icon that looks like a large slice of pie means that AirPort is either not working or has been turned off.  You will be unable to connect to a wireless connection until it is turned back on.

How Do I Connect to a Wireless Network?

  1. If AirPort is turned off, you will need to turn it on.  Click on the AirPort is off icon.
  2. Select Turn AirPort Onin the drop down menu.
  3. Click on the AirPort is on, but not connected icon and select a network within range on the drop down menu.
  4. If there is no password, you will know that the connection was successfully made if the lines fill in.

PC

There is an icon that displays your internet status on the task tray in Windows based systems.  Here is a quick reference:

  • The icon displaying a series of white bars, not unlike the image displaying a cell phone's reception means that your computer is connected to a wireless network.
    • The strength of the network is displayed by how many of the bars are filled in, a weak signal having fewer bars and a strong signal having more.

  • The icon with a red x in front of several clear bars means that you are not connected to the internet at all (wireless or ethernet), and your computer's wireless is turned off.
    • A computer's wireless card can either be turned back on by an external switch next to an icon looking like an antenna, or a button on your keyboard with the same icon.

  • The icon with the orange circle in front of several clear bars means that you are not connected to the internet (wireless or ethernet), but there are wireless connections available.
    • You need to connect to one before you can surf the internet.

How Do I Connect to a Wireless Network?

  1. Make sure your computer's wireless is on, and there are networks available.
  2. Click on the wireless internet icon.
  3. Click on the wireless network to which you wish to connect.

    Please Note: Make sure that the connection is one you trust before you connect.  Since this network requires no password, anyone within the range could potentially connect.  This does not mean that it is automatically untrustworthy, but do not send any personal or private information unless you trust your connection.
  4. Click Connect.  
  5. When the computer is successfully connected, the wireless connected icon should appear.
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  • 14-Jan-2016
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